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Republican candidates for statewide office visit Farmington
The three candidates are unopposed in June primary election
FARMINGTON — Many residents of communities around the state have the same concerns, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Mick Rich told The Daily Times this week.
He said people in every community he has visited are worried about high unemployment and people moving out of the state to find jobs.
“We need a senator that’s going to be focused on the economy for all New Mexico,” Rich said.
He said a statewide effort is needed to market outdoors opportunities and increase jobs in rural New Mexico.
Rich wrote a letter to the Albuquerque Journal in 2012 calling for Gov. Susana Martinez and state legislators to fund a New Mexico Department of Tourism website mapping art studios, galleries, events and organizations in rural New Mexico.
This week, Rich told The Daily Times a similar website is needed for outdoors amenities. He highlighted the quality waters of the San Juan River, Navajo Lake and the San Juan River Balloon Rally as outdoor features that could draw people to San Juan County.
Rich is a proponent of public lands and outdoor recreation as part of a mixed-use policy.
“I think it’s time for the Department of the Interior to move their headquarters out of Washington, D.C.,” he said.
He criticized the permitting process on Bureau of Land Management lands. He said it is hard for ranchers to get permits for water features for their livestock and access roads.
“Our federal lands were built from day one to be mixed use,” he said.
Rich was one of several Republican candidates who visited San Juan County for the recent Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference.
Lieutenant governor candidate visits Farmington
Michelle Garcia Holmes, an Albuquerque resident and Republican candidate for lieutenant governor, also visited Farmington during the conference on Wednesday.
Garcia Holmes said her campaign focuses on pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-oil and gas industry positions, and that another priority lies in reforming the education system to better prepare New Mexico children to participate in the future state economy.
“Our education system right now is broken,” Garcia Holmes said on Wednesday. “It needs a lot of work, and it needs fixing.”
Garcia Holmes cited the burdens of state and federal testing on classrooms, a lack of teacher passion due to low compensation and limited ability to nurture student passions, and the cultural expectations and pressure to go to college instead of entering the work force.
She also emphasized the importance of the energy industry to the state, arguing that maintaining and creating good-paying, stable jobs in the industry — like those at the San Juan Generating Station — should be part of a statewide effort.
“Every state around us taps into their natural resources to create jobs, and New Mexico doesn’t work hard enough to do that,” she said, adding that Four Corners “is the energy capital of New Mexico. We can’t lose another job, and we can’t lose another industry that provides jobs to our communities.”
Candidates are campaigning for November election
State Auditor Wayne Johnson also visited Farmington during the Four Corners Oil and Gas Conference. Johnson, a Republican, was appointed to the position in December and is seeking election to a full term.
The three candidates who visited Farmington last week are running unopposed in the June primary elections. Rich likely will face Democratic incumbent U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich and Libertarian candidate Aubrey Dunn in the November general election.
Garcia Holmes likely will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November. Doña Ana County Commissioner Billy Garrett, state Sen. Howie Morales and former state Rep. Rick Miera are running in the Democratic Party primary. Garcia Holmes also likely will face Libertarian candidate Robin L. Dunn in the general election.
Two Democrats — Brian Colón and Bill McCamley — are hoping to win the party’s nomination for state auditor. Johnson will face the winner of the Democratic Party primary during the general election. There is not a Libertarian candidate in the race.
Hannah Grover covers government for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Reporter Megan Petersen contributed to this report.